On the the SLJ website, it states that to start the beginners course, ‘all you need is a sense of humour and a decent bra’. I’m not sure I completely agree. You do need those things, but you also need at least two others.
First: You need the ability to dislocate both shoulders in order to get into that sports bra- a joy I had completely forgotten in the rather large gap since I last attempted exercise requiring that level of, um, support.
Second: You need the ability to get up on a Saturday morning and propel yourself to Hollybush, even though the weather gods have decided they are going to make sure you REALLY want to do this running thing by ensuring that at 9am it’s either cold, wet, or both. I admit that if it weren’t for the fact that my group would have known I was sitting at home with a cup of tea and hobnob, I probably wouldn’t have even got out the front door.
In fact, this was my Facebook status just before I left home:
I’m really starting to appreciate the fact that being part of a small group of lovely people is absolutely critical to this whole thing for me. I admire the people who can download an app and just get on with teaching themselves, but I couldn’t do it. I need the encouragement from the rest of the group, I need to know I can ask the coach questions (I’m sorry – I know I ask way too many of those) and this week, I needed the chatting to distract me from the fact that we had to really up our game. Last week I was so proud we had run for two full minutes, right at the end. This week, we were running for three minutes at a time, almost all the way through. In one case 3 minutes, thirty-five seconds! (not that I am counting). And I felt every second.
The combined effect of a cold start and more running than I had anticipated meant that I was sweating like a…well, like a beginner runner who was wearing three layers- probably two too many - topped off with a waterproof jacket. And because every time I started to move faster than a walk I got a stitch, I was attempting my three legged donkey moves with an arm in the air to try to make it go away. And because it hurt, I was feeling very grumpy about the whole thing. When I finally caught up with some of the others, I announced that I didn’t know why I was doing this – I was not cut out for it. But they already know me well and pointed out that I could have an extra hobnob when I got home if I could get through it. And I’ll be honest: I am a simple being and that was enough to get me to refocus.
On the upside, I’m no longer embarrassed about people laughing at how silly I look – it can’t get much worse than I looked this week, and of course, most of Sevenoaks were out walking their dog – or in this case, wearing a dragon on their head:
So I found this week hard work, but I am told that some weeks are good and some are bad. Our coach told us her job is to push us just enough that we only hate her for a little while rather than the entire day, which is strangely reassuring. Hopefully next week it won’t feel quite so hard, and maybe I won’t have to be bribed with Hobnobs (which, it turned out, I didn’t have in the biscuit tin anyway. Humph).
This donkey is struggling, but not giving up!